The land that was once home to Dunvegan Gardens has found its new purpose.
On Tuesday, Wood Buffalo council voted unanimously to allow the Tabernacle of Praise Church to take over the property – after their former building in Waterways was destroyed during the Horse River Wildfire.
Dunvegan closed its doors in Draper last year when a decision by council forced them to stop their operations.
Pastor Marlon Alexander and his wife Cheryl, spoke to council on behalf of the church.
Marlon, who is senior pastor at TOP church, notes the property is ideal due to its existing facilities as well as its larger size in comparison to their Waterways location.
“TOP Church has been a dedicated community member for over 38 years, our home has been Waterways for most of those years. And while we have endeavoured to serve to the best of our ability, we believe 128 Garden Lane holds greater opportunity for the church family to serve and enjoy.”
In total, the land is 22 acres larger than the current property and comprises of a large green space for outdoor activities.
Marlon says quite simply, this would be a place for them to call home.
Meanwhile, Cheryl says they also want to rebuild so that they can repurpose the land for church and community events.
“The value of a church being in the community is not just for people attending the church and also those residing in the community but it’s a valuable resource in the time of need to provide comfort, a place to build lasting friendships and in some cases, we become family.”
TOP is consulting with local construction company Corcorda Incorporated on the next steps for the area.
Lawyer and long-time resident Andrew Thorne, who was very critical of Dunvegan Gardens during its time – also shared his support for TOP.
“This church not only knows the words of the Bible, but they know what they mean, and they incorporate them into their actions, their integrity and their morality and that is a rare thing. And in my mind, these are the values that make it a community asset.”
The RMWB says upgrades are currently underway to re-grade and pave Draper Road to municipal engineering standards.
Meanwhile, Garden Lane is scheduled to be upgraded in 2021.